Forgiveness: Who does it and how do they do it?

Michael E. McCullough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

199 Scopus citations


Forgiveness is a suite of prosocial motivational changes that occurs after a person has incurred a transgression. People who are inclined to forgive their transgressors tend to be more agreeable, more emotionally stable, and, some research suggests, more spiritually or religiously inclined than people who do not tend to forgive their transgressors. Several psychological processes appear to foster or inhibit forgiveness. These processes include empathy for the transgressor, generous attributions and appraisals regarding the transgression and transgressor, and rumination about the transgression. Interpreting these findings in light of modern trait theory would help to create a more unified understanding of how personality might influence forgiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)194-197
Number of pages4
JournalCurrent Directions in Psychological Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Forgiveness
  • Personality
  • Research
  • Review
  • Theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Forgiveness: Who does it and how do they do it?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this